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Still Buried Under Paper after All These Years

March 21, 2012

I wonder if five years from now, if healthcare will still be buried under paper.

A recent survey by Anoto shows the mountains of paper that exist in healthcare today. The survey confirms that despite the growing numbers of organizations implementing EHRs, many are not decreasing their reliance on paper-based processes.

For example, more than half of the respondents say that paper is still a primary source for tracking information within their organizations’ daily activities, citing reasons such as:

  • Paper is too embedded in the healthcare culture;
  •  Technology adoption is way too expensive; and
  •  Switching to an electronic system requires too much training and would disrupt care delivery — all fair arguments

Additionally, survey respondents said that the paperwork burden will increase with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Some other findings suggest:

Paperwork Rules:

  • 63% of respondents said they spend anywhere from 25% to more than 75% of their time at work drafting or processing paperwork.
  •  Almost 80% are still using paper records, despite either having or currently implementing an EHR.
  •  78% of respondents believe PPACA will either increase the amount of paperwork they have or it will stay the same.

EHR Technology Improves Patient Care:
• As healthcare continues to move towards EHR adoption, there is consensus that ultimately this technology will benefit the industry, patients and the quality of patient care in the long-term. Almost 90% of survey respondents with an active EHR system believe an EHR system improves patient care.

Interest in Digitizing Paper-Based Processes is High:
Respondents were asked (on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest) if they would be interested in using a solution that would allow them to digitize information instantly while still using the paper forms they have always used. Nearly 50% of respondents rated their interest as an 8 or higher.

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